How will individual households be able to choose their own electricity supplier when there is only one transmission line leading to each house, while that line is owned by a regional power company?
Just as in the case of telecommunication services, where new operators are allowed to use the existing telephone lines, there will still be only one transmission line leading to each household as today. Each household then selects electricity supplies from the offer of any distributor, and the chosen company, using the existing transmission lines, will supply the contracted amount of electricity.
Does the name ČEZ Group mean the same as ČEZ? What is the difference between ČEZ and ČEZ Group?
The “ČEZ Group? is not the same as “ČEZ?. The company ČEZ is a firm or enterprise with its own legal personality, that is to say it has its own statutory bodies, seat, etc. The term “ČEZ Group? refers to a broad business grouping of enterprises, including the ČEZ company and many other enterprises in which ČEZ has either a majority or significant equity stake.
The enterprises in the ČEZ Group cover a scope of business activities in the electricity sector, ranging from mining of raw materials, through generation and trading electricity to distribution of electricity and related services
The strong position of the ČEZ Group in all the key areas of the energy sector proves that the Group is using its best efforts retain its leading role under the new, highly competitive conditions of the Central Europe energy market.
You write that the use of nuclear fuel from Westinghouse will generate less nuclear waste. Less than what?
Less then the previously used method proposed by Russian designers as part of the initial project. Reactor fuel would have to be replaced more often, therefore, its utilisation would be lower, while the amount of spent fuel would be higher.
What will be the increase of temperature of the Vltava river water downstream from the used water outlet?
It will be 0.25 degrees of Celsius.
What starts the nuclear reaction in the reactor? That is to say how are the first neutrons initiating the chain reaction introduced into the reactor core.? (I expect that just the withdrawal of control rods or a change in concentration of the boric acid is not sufficient, they are necessary but not sufficient conditions for the process to start).
In the nature all around us there is natural radioactivity found in normal levels. It is part of the environment and has always existed on the Earth. This is why even before a reaction is started there are free neutrons, capable of causing uranium nuclei fissure, found in every reactor, and these neutrons can be used to start the fission reaction. This was also the case 15 years ago in another Czech power plant – the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant, when its four reactors were being started. In the Temelín NPP the first controlled fission chain reaction was started using not only these "natural" neutrons, but also auxiliary neutron sources giving a higher neutron flux, thus enabling a more accurate measurement of this value and any other responses of the core of this reactor. To answer your question we can say that the withdrawal of control rods and a reduction of concentration may be sufficient, but in the case of Temelín an additional source, installed in advance with the fuel, was used.
Is the steam coming out of the cooling towers radioactive? (even if the level is minimal).
All the natural materials have a "natural radioactivity", thus radioactivity is a common part of the environment, therefore, we should always talk about radioactivity levels. Your question refers to increased levels of this radioactivity, perhaps such as the one found in some favourite mineral waters. The cooling towers are part of the cooling water circuit, which removes redundant heat from the secondary circuit. As water circulating in the secondary circuit is not radioactive (only water in the primary circuits gets in direct contact with the nuclear fuel), the radioactivity of the steam leaving the cooling towers will not be higher than the radioactivity brought to the power plant by the Vltava river water from Šumava.
On your pages you support your statements with a number of analyses which are not listed, however. I am interested to know what analyses were used for: 1) seismic risk assessment, 2) assessment of potential flood risks, 3) assessment of risks of an explosion of gas pipeline, 4) beyond design basis accident analyses
The reason for not listing those analyses is that there are tens to hundreds of analyses covering the specified areas. Summary results and conclusions based on those analyses for areas 1 to 3 were incorporated in relevant chapters of the so called Pre-in-Service Safety Report on the Temelín NPP, a safety document required by law to prove the nuclear safety of the facility and for obtaining a licence to operate the nuclear facility from the nuclear safety supervision authority. Just for illustration of the scope of the first area - seismic risk assessment, the following types of analyses had to be made: in the area of macro seismic data analyses, analyses of a range of macro seismic catalogues and compiling of basic earthquake catalogues for the Temelín NPP, expert models of seismic event source zones in the area of the Temelín NPP, comprehensive assessment of geological, tectonic, geophysical, seismic, and geodesic surveys, monitoring of macro seismic data by instruments, calculations of the acceleration histories of earthquakes that took place in this area in the past, the same for the maximal possible calculated earthquake in this area, establishing of response spectra of the bedrock of the area and of the bedrock under individual civil engineering structures of the nuclear facility, calculation of the impact of vibration acceleration on the equipment, establishing of probability curves of seismic activity risks in relation to their intensity, probability analysis and quantification of the risk of damage to the reactor core, etc. The situation in areas 2, 3, and 4 is similar, even though analyses in area 4 - beyond design basis accident analyses are not prescribed by law. Selected chapters from the Safety Report on the Temelín NPP are available to the general public at the Information Centre of the Temelín NPP.
If you look at the map of the Czech Republic, you can see that both nuclear power plants are virtually at the border with Austria. What was the reason for that, and why they re not situated in the middle of our country?
The first reason is that the selection of a site for building a nuclear power plant is determined by a whole range of criteria, including geological ones. The geological formations in South Bohemia and South Moravia are old and stable, with minimal occurrences of earthquakes. And this is one reason why they are suitable for building nuclear power plants there. Certainly, there are also other suitable regions, but for example Central Bohemia is not one of them. The second key reason is that power plants should be situated evenly, if possible, in the area they supply with electricity, in order to achieve an optimal power distribution. In the past, Czech power stations were located mainly in North Bohemia and North Moravia regions because this is where coal mines were located, as well. And this is yet another reason why the Dukovany and Temelín NPPs were built in South Bohemia and South Moravia.
How will households be able to choose their electricity supplier when there is just one power supply wire going into the hose, which belongs the regional distribution company?
Similar to the situation in the telecommunication sector, where new operators use the existing telephone lines, households will continue to have only one power supply cable. A household will choose electricity from the offer of any electricity supplier and the local distributor (the relevant regional distribution company) shall deliver the electricity to the household using the existing power supply network.
Whom will be households able to buy electricity from once the option is made available by the Act?
Households will be able to choose from a wide range of suppliers. There are already a number of electricity traders in our country, and their number can be expected to grow with the progress of the market liberalisation.
Will individual household be entitled to choose their electricity supplier? Or will that be right available only to a block of flats as a whole?
The option to choose their electricity supplier will be available to any household equipped with its own electric meter.
In the event of a prolonged outage of power supply to the emergency systems (including the unlikely failure of all the diesel generators) the primary circuit coolant would be overheated, the fuel elements would be exposed and would begin to melt within several hours as a result of the residual output of the reactor. Is it possible that in such a situation the fission reaction would be renewed, for example as a result of accumulation of above-critical mass of molten fuel at the bottom of the reactor vessel? According to the answer to question 28, there have been calculations of a reactor core meltdown performed.
If we disregard the very small, almost negligible probability of a failure of all the diesel generators, the option of supplying power from the second unit (once it is commissioned), and all the other options of securing a safe power supply to the emergency system of the nuclear reactor in the event of a failure of the diesel generators, the answer is: It is not possible. The above-critical mass of nuclear fuel does not depend only on the weight but above all on its configuration, i.e. spatial distribution. Reactors of type VVER 440 are fuelled by uranium enriched by isotope 235. This isotope is fissioned by the so called slow neutrons. However, the nuclear disintegration of isotope 235 generates fast neutrons which are slowed down by the moderator, usually water, under the conditions of a controlled fission reaction. This is why the nuclear fuel is arranged in the reactor in the form of thin rods with water flowing between them. This water serves both for removing heat from the fuel rods (cooling) and for slowing down neutrons (as the so called moderator). In advance of the meltdown and collapse of the reactor core a leakage or evaporation of the water would have to occur, but in view of the mentioned physical principles, also the fission reaction would be stopped, naturally. Thus the fission reaction could not be resumed in the molten core, as a key prerequisite would be missing – moderator slowing down fast neutrons, and thus availability of slow ("fission") neutrons. Calculations of a reactor core meltdown have been made in order to determine the development of a potential failure beyond "design" basis levels and its impact on a nuclear power station containment caused by residual heat of the fuel. More information on this topic can be found for example at http://www.ete.cez.cz/jtatkove/ete.html.
What is the probability that the hydrogen relief valves will fail, causing hydrogen to accumulate inside the reactor in the case it becomes overheated.
You probably mean to valves of the YR system, however, they are not designed for blowing off hydrogen, but for the so called emergency venting of the reactor. If the normal process of cooling the reactor core is disrupted, steam could accumulate under the reactor lid and prevent the renewal of coolant circulation, or it could cause a decrease of the water level and thus exposing the upper sections of the fuel assemblies. The system mentioned is designed for venting the steam. This steam would of course contain a certain quantity of hydrogen, which is released from the coolant by the radioactive radiation, but it could not burn, deflagrate, or explode as there is not enough oxygen for that. The system for emergency venting of the reactor is connected to the so called barbotage tank where steam is condensed. The system consists of two sets, connected in series, of three electric control valves in parallel arrangement. The probability of a failure of this emergency circuit is determined by a dominant malfunction with a common cause, which is 1E-3 to 1E-4 in the case of these two sets of three valves, that means that at least one vale will fail to open on average once per 1000 or 10000 open signals. One should bear in mind, however, that in order for this system to be activated, an emergency situation causing accumulation of hydrogen under the reactor lid has to develop, at first. And also, this event can happen with only a certain level of probability. It should be noted that the occurrence of an emergency situation and a simultaneous failure of all the valves are two independent phenomena. Thus the probability of the valves failing to operate in an emergency situation is lower by at least two to three orders of magnitude, i.e. about 1E-5 to 1E-6. It should be pointed out that in the event the YR system fails, there is another system available for reducing the pressure in the entire primary circuit – the system of relief and check valves of the YP volume compensator.
Nuclear energy is commonly considered to be the most advantageous form of power generation from the economic point of view. However, your pages indicate that the problems of a permanent storage of spent fuel and the liquidation of the power plant have not been resolved. How does this calculation reflect the costs of storing spent fuel for thousands of years and for the conservation of the JETE for an ?unlimited period??
The costs of future liquidation of the nuclear power plant and storage of spent nuclear fuel are incorporated in the price of electricity generated by the Temelín a Dukovany nuclear power plants. They have been calculated on the basis of international experience and using economic models. The accumulated funds are deposited on special accounts. The account with funds for the liquidation of the power plant is managed by ČEZ, while the with funds for storage of spent nuclear fuel is managed by the Czech Ministry of Finance. The spent nuclear fuel repository will not require any maintenance, and thus also no funds during its existence. On the contrary, the intention is that once it is full, it will be irreversibly closed (using earth fill). As it should be built several hundred meter under ground, it will not require to be guarded actively and no maintenance will be needed.
Finally, the energy balance strikes me as a bit strange. The reactor generates 3000 MW of heat energy. But its electricity output is stated to be ?only? 920 MW. Is there no way to use the lost energy more efficiently?
Yes, some of this energy (2080 MW) will be used for heating in the nearby town, and some of it could be used for heating greenhouses for vegetables or flowers, or even for breeding fish. But since the import of these commodities is cheaper, such a use of this energy is not feasible from the economic point of view. A certain part of this heat has such a low potential (pressure and temperature) that there is virtually no way of making any use of it.
What is the material used for manufacturing the control rods clusters?
Clusters are manufactured from materials absorbing neutrons. It is the reduction of the number of neutrons moving through the reactor core that helps to slow down the fission reaction, as absorbed neutrons cannot cause fissure of additional uranium atoms. In particular, clusters used in Temelín are manufactured from an alloy of indium, cadmium, silver, and pellets from boron carbide.
How high are the Temelín cooling towers?
How can a person get into safety in case the power plant explodes?
There are external emergency plans in place as a protection against a potential major accident in the Temelín nuclear power plant, and these plans provide for the population of the area around the Temelín NPP to be evacuated if such an accident happens. Details about the type of accident that would have such consequences and what area would have to be evacuated can be found in the Chapter “Safety of the Temelín NPP?, in the section called “Emergency Preparedness of the Temelín NPP?. The safety and emergency systems of the Temelín NPP have been designed in such a way that there should be no need for evacuation of areas beyond 10 km from the plant in the event of any conceivable accident. Thus if you live in Austria or Germany you need not prepare yourself for evacuation. If you read the whole chapter on the Temelín NPP safety, you will learn that even if an accident may happen in this plant, it cannot explode the way the Chernobyl plant did.
How did the Austrian economy and in particular Austrian banks contribute to the construction of Temelín?
Austrian banks were not involved in the Temelín NPP construction, and Austrian companies that participated in the construction by deliveries of any significance can be found in the relevant list in Chapter “Safety of the Temelín NPP?, section “Manufacturers of important components, equipments, and systems of the Temelín NPP?.
Modern pressurised water reactors are considered to be inherently safe due to their negative heat capacity (i.e. output decreases with increasing temperature. Why is it thatpower excursions, which can be stopped only by shutting down the reactor, still occur?
I am not really sure what you mean by “Leistungs-Exkursionen?, but if that refers to faults that occurred so far during the commissioning of the Temelín NPP – for example the shutdown of reactor coolant pumps – the answer is that according to the operating regulations the operation has to be stopped immediately when any of a number of faults, even less significant ones, occurs. Thus the reactor shutdown is not a measure taken as a last resort in solving a critical problem, but a common safety precaution. In addition, the inherent safety you mention guarantees that a pressurised water reactor cannot get out of control (the way the Chernobyl reactor did). However, the reactor is being shut down primarily to stop the reaction, i.e. not only to prevent its intensity from growing. An immediate shutdown is required to reduce to the minimum the amount of heat generated by the reaction, which needs to be removed particularly if the reactor coolant pumps fail.
Why are the faults occurring in the Temelín NPP being played down?
We admit that compared to the way the Austrian media present some faults encountered during the start-up of the Temelín NPP the realistic description of the situation and its impact on the plant’s safety may be seen as playing it down. In order to avoid this, we will try to inform about such faults in greater detail in the future. Some Austrian media might contribute, too, by avoiding the use of “reliable sources? such as Greenpeace.
Is it possible to publish on the Internet latest (daily) news about the progress of the tests?
The tests are so numerous and the format in which results are presented is so technical that the authors of this page are not and will not be able to process them for presentation on the Internet.
When was Temelín put into operation?
On 10 October 2000. The process of launching the Temelín plant is described in the Chapter “About the server?.
Temelín may be the first step in eliminating the dependence on import of fossil fuels. Will ČEZ rely only on nuclear power or is it considering the option using water energy. Will the launching of Temelín enable the shutdown of thermal power plants in North Bohemia? Do you have any other nuclear power plants?
ČEZ is using energy from thermal, hydro, nuclear, and wind power plants. At present, it is operating 1 nuclear, 10 coal-fired, 13 hydro, 2 wind, and 1 photovoltaic power plant, and 2 heat plants. The coal-fired power plants represent some 65 % of its output, and their share will be decreasing (currently about 6,400 MW). Electricity from hydro power plants represents 17 percent (1,872 MW) of the total installed capacity. Most of these power plants (except three) are situated on the Vltava river. The first nuclear power plant is located in Dukovany (launched in 1985) and represents about 20 percent of the installed capacity of ČEZ (4 units each with a capacity of 440 MW, total of 1,720 MW), after it is completed, the Temelín NPP will have 2 units each with a capacity of 981 MW (total of 1,962 MW), and once it is running at full load, the share of nuclear energy in the output of ČEZ will be about 50 percent. (It is clear, at this point, that nuclear energy will replace some of the energy generated by burning of fossil fuels.) The general supplier of equipment for the Temelín plant is Škoda Praha, the control system was delivered by the American company Westinghouse Electric Company. Recently, we have been conducting tests of wind power plants (Dlouhá louka near Osek in the Krušné Hory mountain range, 315 kW, in operation since 1993; a wind power plant farm at Mravenečník near Kouty nad Desnou, in the Jeseniky mountain range, outputs 220, 315, and 630 kW, launched in 1998. The farm also includes a photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of 10 kW).
Lets imagine there is a total failure of power supply, the power station is running only on power from diesel generators. How long would the available diesel fuel last in the worst case scenario?
To put it as simply as possible: there are 8 diesel generators available for the two units of the Temelín NPP. Just two of them are sufficient for a safe shutdown and cooling of one unit. Each such generator has a built in and an external fuel tank, and all the generators are linked to one main fuel tank. The built in tank with a capacity 12 m3 can keep the generator running for 7 hours, the external tank with a capacity of 100 m3 for 58 hours, and the main tank with a capacity of 4000 m3 for 1160 hours (in the case that only two diesel generators are in operation). It is evident that both the number and the capacity of the diesel generators is not only adequate for any situation, but exceed the potential needs two to three times.
On the pages temelin-besuch you write about an evacuation diameter of 3 km in the event of an accident in the plant. Could it be that in the case of a reactor core meltdown (no matter whether it really happens and how it could happen) it might be necessary to evacuate much larger areas?
It would not be necessary, only the area described on our pages in the chapter on the accident preparedness of the Temelín NPP would be evacuated. The reason is that in the case of a beyond design basis accident described on that page, which was used for determining the area to be evacuated (main coolant pipe rupture combined with a failure of power supply to safety and emergency systems), most probably the reactor core meltdown would happen. This is why the effect of such a meltdown has been reflected in the calculations. Comment: this is not “just another accident?, but an accident the probability of which is so small when the service life of the power plant or the length of the life of a person are taken into consideration, that the possibility of it happening is only theoretical.
What would be the effects of the most serious accident (for example a bomb hit in the case of a war conflict)?
The answer to the question of the effects of accidents in the power plant can be found in the Chapter “Safety of the Temelín NPP? in the section called “Emergency Preparedness of the Temelín NPP?. The reactor is protected against external effects and attacks first of all by the system of physical protection and by the containment. They protect the plant’s reactor and primary circuit. The reinforced concrete structure of the containment (protective shell) has walls thick 1.2 m and was designed and built to withstand for example the hit by a twenty-tonne aircraft flying at a speed of 720 km/h or the biggest earthquake that may occur in this are not more than once in ten thousand years. The containment would not hold up it were subjected to a targeted bombardment during a war conflict. But that should raise no concerns, as there is no realistic scenario of who might fight against whom on the territory of the Czech Republic in order for one of the warring parties to want to bombard a nuclear power plant. In line with this philosophy, no other nuclear power plant in Europe is able to withstand a bombardment. On the other hand, the system of physical protection of the Temelín’s reactors is designed to protect the plant against a terrorist attack. Do not ask how, as this is quite logically secret.
As I have just seen in the live broadcast (camera 6), there is no personnel in the emergency control room (21:05). Why ? is there no night service?
The emergency control room is there to allow control when it is not possible to control the reactor from the normal control room of a unit – that means mainly in emergencies. There is no need for any personnel to be present there during normal operation. This is due to the fact that there can be no situation when relevant personnel of the plant would not be able to arrive or relocate in time to the emergency control room.
I have not been able to find an answer to the question where spent fuel rods are being taken and how they will be transported, because the temporary storage site, as the name implies, is not PERMANENT ...
Spent fuel from the Temelín NPP reactors shall be stored for about 10 years in spent fuel pools located near the reactors within the protective shell (containment). After that, it will be transferred to a temporary storage facility on the Temelín NPP site. Then it should be deposited deep under ground in a permanent repository on the territory of the Czech Republic, which should be put into operation around the year 2050. Its construction is being prepared by the state Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO).
What is the qualification structure of the control room personnel and what is their experience in running the reactor they operate?
The personnel of the reactor unit’s control room are all university graduates. The heads of staff have experience in operating nuclear reactors in Dukovany. In addition, all of them have passed tests on a full-scope simulator in Temelín, which is identical with the reactor unit’s control room of the Temelín NPP. This simulator is used for training to cope with emergency situation, which virtually never occur under regular operating conditions. The same applies to the Dukovany NPP, which has been successfully operated for 15 years, but the difference here is that a turbine can be operated by a high-school graduate with many years of experience as a turbine and secondary circuit equipment engineer.
Is it possible to have a tour of this nuclear power plant, especially inside? Also for Austrians?
Yes, it is possible. During the start-up of Reactor 1, tours are organised to Reactor 2, which is still under construction. Larger parties should arrange their visit in advance on tel. (+420) 334 782 639, fax (+420) 334 784 900
You also write about an emergency shutdown of a reactor. How long does it take to shut down a reactor? How long does it have to be cooled afterwards? Can a reactor be left ?without operators?, i.e. without cooling, etc., after an emergency shutdown.
There are rules and international recommendations regulating a quick shutdown of a reactor, and every plant has to comply with them. These rules reflect the neutron-physics and thermal parameters of the reactor’s core. The insertion of control rods “Clusters? in Temelín takes only several seconds. The subsequent cooling is related to the so called residual output. It means that during the first several tens of seconds after the shutdown a “forced circulation? is required, this is ensured by the inertial run of the four reactor coolant pumps. When the pumps stop, the residual heat generated by the reactor core continues to be removed by the natural circulation of the coolant between the reactor core and steam generators, used to remove the heat. The removal of heat is ensured in a passive manner (pump flywheel, natural circulation), and thus the reactor cannot be left without any cooling. But even then, a reactor is never left without personnel after a shutdown.
I am not sure, but I have the impression that the money invested in the Dukovany NPP was repaid within 11 years (at then current prices, of course). How many years will it take for the funds invested in the Temelín NPP to be recovered?
A construction of a power plants always involves a certain business risk. Therefore, the investor needs to take into consideration future electricity price and costs development. With respect to the Temelín NPP the biggest investments (construction) have been made and what remains is its operation at relatively low costs. In view of the growing prices of crude oil products, gas, and the high prices of electricity from alternative sources (even biomass is harvested and transported using engines running on crude oil products), and inline with the economics of the Dukovany nuclear power plant you mention, it can be expected that Temelín will be “repaid? within 20 years of its operation. I need to add, however, that this is just an estimate.
If everything in Temelín is so perfect and apparently 100 % safe, as you claim on your information page, why were Austrian parliament and nuclear specialists prevented from access to important areas of the equipment, and how comes that even then safety faults were uncovered, according to reports of the ORF TV station?
The Austrian parliamentary and expert delegation was given dates on which it was possible to visit any place in the plant, and the delegation was warned several times that preparations of Unit 1 for start-up were under way, and also that once the start-up was launched, it would not be possible to visit certain parts of the plant. This applies to the sealed reactor containment where there is equipment pressurised at 13Mpa (130 atm) and with temperatures of 280-290ºC. After reviewing the repeated request of the Austrian delegation and all the other aspects and also the significance of this visit, the authorities granted a permission to access the requested areas to those Austrian members of the delegation who insisted on going there and who were prepared to undertake the specified risks /pressure and temperature). Two Austrian Members of Parliament with accompanying personnel visited the containment and areas around the reactor.
If I understand correctly from reading these pages, spent fuel will be stored at Dukovany. How will this fuel be transported from Temelín to Dukovany?
Spent fuel will not be transported, there will be a temporary storage for spent fuel built in time at Temelín.
I have read that in 2003 the producer of electricity ČEZ acquired interests in regional power companies. What does this really mean?
Following a decision of the Czech Cabinet, ČEZ acquired equity stakes in some of the regional power companies. There are in total eight such companies in the Czech Republic, corresponding to the number of regions in the country some time back. Currently, ČEZ is a majority shareholder of five of these companies: Severomoravská energetika, a.s., Západočeská energetika, a.s., Středočeská energetika a.s., Východočeská energetika, a.s. a Severočeská energetika, a.s.. In addition, its has a minority stake in Pražská energetika, a.s.. In compliance with a ruling of the Office for the Protection of Competition, ČEZ will sell its minority stake in Pražská energetika, a.s. and its majority stake in Severočeská energetika, a.s.. Thus ČEZ will retain only the majority stakes in four out of eight regional power companies.
During the operation of a reactor there are radioactive gases vented from it (see the results of environmental analyses). What are the substances involved and could the contamination of foodstuffs from the surrounding area cause leukaemia, similar to the case of the Krümmel plant?
I am not acquainted with the situation around German nuclear power plants, but I know the situation in the vicinity of the Dukovany NPP, where 4 nuclear reactors VVER440/213 have been in operation for some 15 years, now. Expert studies of the health condition of inhabitants from the area around the plant confirm there has been no statistically proven increase of incidence of any form of cancer, or even leukaemia, registered. You are right that when water from the primary circuit (not from the reactor) is being cleaned, a small amount of radionuclids may escape. These are captured by air-purifying filters and stored safely as radioactive waste. The final result is such that during this process the amount of radioactive substances escaping into the air is 100 times lower than the amount released by the “cleaned chimneys? of power stations burning fossil fuels or from latest models of cars equipped with catalytic converters (recalculated to comparable outputs). The fact is that natural substances contain natural radioactivity which is an inevitable part of the environment and which has always existed on the Earth. When fossil fuels are burned, the substances become highly concentrated and are released into the environment. Food chains and the air in the power plant are continuously monitored by the Czech radiation inspection. Until now, there have been no unusual data registered in connection with the operation of the Dukovany NPP. The approach to the Temelín NPP’s operation is similar. Comment: Radiation parameters around the Dukovany nuclear power plant are being measured for several years now also by the Austrian organisation GLOBAL 2000.
I live in Linz, that means hardly 100 km from the Temelín NPP. If an accident similar to Chernobyl happens in the Temelín NPP, how will I learn about it. Would it be sufficiently in time for me to be evacuated to safety?
An accident of the Chernobyl type or scale can never happen in the Temelín NPP. The reactor’s design is different, and it has a different physics of operation. Please read the chapter Safety of the Temelín NPP on this server, and its section Comparison of the Temelín NPP and the Chernobyl Plant. You can find the description of different types of fault and accidents that might occur in the Temelín NPP in the same chapter under section “Emergency Preparedness of the Temelín NPP?. In this chapter you will also find information that under no circumstances it would be necessary to evacuate inhabitants from areas at a distance greater than 3 km from the Temelín NPP’s reactors. However, the emergency plans provide for a preventive evacuation of inhabitants from areas at a distance up to 5 from the power plant, which is extended to 10 km in the direction of then prevailing winds. Inhabitants beyond those limits would be at no risk. In other words, there will never be any need for evacuation of inhabitants from Linz or from or any other part of Austria. We should point out that both the Czech Republic and Austria have adopted European early warning treaties, on the basis of which the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna would be informed immediately about any accident in the Temelín NPP, just like about an accident in any other nuclear power plant for example in Germany, France, or Switzerland. In this particular case, the distribution of this information to the general public would be the responsibility of Austrian authorities.
The cooling towers (as can be seen also from the Temelín picture) are a facility through which energy is wasted, and which cannot be justified in view of the crude oil crisis in 1973 and the environmental aspects. Why is it that the waste heat is not recovered for use by industrial enterprises, for heating of buildings and of water? Should not be the Temelín NPP situated in the ?energy centre? of Prague for a more rational utilisation of energy?
The secondary circuit of the Temelín NPP (in particular the turbine) will deliver steam for municipal heating in the town of Týn nad Vltavou, which has about 8 600 inhabitants and is located 5 km from the plant. The heat escaping into the air through the cooling towers of the plant cannot be utilised as its potential is too low*. Water cooled at the cooling towers is used for cooling the condensers, which are part of the secondary circuit of the Temelín NPP. Steam from the turbine is condensed there back to water. This equipment can be found in any thermal power plant, whether nuclear or non-nuclear – for example a coal-fired plant, and the same applies to cooling towers. Large sections of Prague are supplied with heat from remote sources, which is (similar to the Temelín NPP) delivered in the form of steam from the turbine of the Mělník power plant burning brown coal. * Explanation of the term low potential: the temperature and pressure of the steam leaving the turbine and fed to the condenser are too low to be efficiently used for heating or for industrial purposes.
When ČEZ gets control of the four regional power companies, is there any danger of a monopoly selling electricity being created?
With the on-going liberalisation of the electricity market, a growing number of consumers will be free to choose their supplier of electricity, regardless of which regional power company is covering the area where they live. For example, even today companies in Northern Moravia can purchase electricity from suppliers in South Bohemia, etc. From 2006, all the consumers, including households, will be able to choose their suppliers. At this point of time, there are already three other strong suppliers: Pražská energetika, Jihočeská energetika, and Jihomoravská energetika, in addition to the power companies owned by ČEZ. In the future, the number of suppliers will continue to grow.
Does not the acquisition of interests in regional power companies by ČEZ establish a monopoly in the distribution (transport) of electricity, as this is one of the business activities of those companies? Will not ČEZ try to restrict purchases from competing suppliers?
It is true that in addition to selling electricity, regional power companies are also responsible for its distribution, i.e. delivery to individual household and companies. However, the Power Act guarantees that all the suppliers will have equal access to the distribution network in any given area for a fee regulated by the state. Thus suppliers can have the purchased electricity delivered to any location within the Czech Republic regardless of who owns the distribution network in this area. The owner of the distribution cannot abuse his position in any way.
Is it not the case that the monopoly producer ČEZ simply secured an easy way of selling its electricity through gaining control of regional power companies?
ČEZ is not a monopoly producer of electricity in the Czech Republic, as its production covers about 60 % of the domestic consumption. In addition, the electricity market should be viewed in the European context – there are many other producers who have free access to our market. This market is already fully open on the production side, as regional suppliers of electricity can buy energy from a market of their choice, and thus ČEZ is facing the competition of a number of European power companies.
Is there any danger that the purchase of stakes in regional power companies by ČEZ might reverse the trend of liberalisation of the electricity market in our country?
The progress of the liberalisation process is determined by the Power Act adopted in 2000. It is evident that a change of the majority shareholder in several regional power companies can have no impact on the validity of this act. The electricity market liberalisation is required within the European Union, which we will join shortly – thus the trend of opening the market cannot be reversed.
What are the benefits for customers resulting from the acquisition of stakes in regional power companies by ČEZ?
First of all this process brings a long-term stability to the whole electricity sector, and this will benefit the consumers, as well. The business activities of individual power companies are very similar, and thus the integration will help to optimise their businesses and to bring benefits due to economy of scale. As a result, it will be possible to keep domestic electricity prices below the price levels common in West European countries.
How can you say that the integration of power companies will bring benefits when prices of electricity for households were increased again in January this year?
It is necessary to point out that households are in the category of the so call protected customers and that the price of electricity supplied to them is regulated by the Energy Regulatory Office (ERO). The Office determined the maximal end-user prices of electricity for this year, based on certain factors affecting the price. There have been several main factors reflected in the electricity prices: increased expenditures on mandatory purchases of electricity from renewable sources and from electricity and heat co-generation plants (electricity from these sources is purchased at higher prices), higher expenditures associated with the so called system services costs (this refers to electricity used for maintaining the stability of the electrification system), and also higher prices of purchased electricity, which respond to the price increases on major European markets. On the other hand, the price decision of the ERO states that factors causing price increases are offset to a certain degree by the reduced distribution fees. One of the key tasks of the regional power companies is to ensure the distribution of electricity – the optimisation of these activities and reduction of costs due to economy of scale was on of the main objectives of the process of integration electricity sector.
I have heard the purchase of stakes in regional power companies brought about an expansion of the ?ČEZ Group?. Who or what is this ČEZ Group?
The ČEZ Group is a broad grouping of business entities, which has been existence for several years. ČEZ is the parent company of the group, and it has been transformed during the last 2 years from a primarily generating enterprise to a modern and dynamic company focused also on trading in electricity. The ČEZ Group includes companies from different areas, such as electricity generation, mining of raw materials, transmission of electricity, trading in electricity, and other services. At present there are several tens of subsidiaries and affiliated companies under the ČEZ Group umbrella.The addition of the five regional power companies to the ČEZ Group through their acquisition has significantly increased the strength of the whole group, in particular its commercial units.The ČEZ Group is not only one of the leading business entities in the Czech Republic, as a result of its expansion it has become one of the ten biggest electric power entities in Europe and the leading group in the Central Europe market with electricity.
According to the Internet pages the calculated worst case accident in the Nuclear Power Plantis the disruption of the primary circuit. How would the reactor continue to be cooled in such an event?
Water in the reactor and the primary circuit is replenished as follows: (i) from a pressuriser, water from the pressuriser is fed without the use of any pumps to the reactor when the pressure in the reactor drops (indicating leakage of water from the primary circuit), (ii) by a high head pump (capacity 160 m3 per hour), and (iii) by a low head pump (capacity 800 m3 per hour). In the event of a small decrease of the primary circuit pressure (minor leakage of water – a small crack on the piping) the water storage tanks are activated. If the drop of pressure is more significant, the high head pumps are switched on. In the case of a disruption of the primary coolant piping mentioned by you, both these system would be put into operation. Their capacity is sufficient to cool the reactor to prevent a meltdown of its core. The water flows in a closed circuit so the is no danger of insufficient supply of water. Both the high and low head pumps have two backup pumps each, and only one of the three pumps is sufficient to control the emergency situation.